it's amazing how many thoughts a tram can contain (oxymoronia) wrote in anti_bad_terps,
it's amazing how many thoughts a tram can contain

just one of these frustrating days

I've just came from a class and frustratingly, the class felt like a complete waste of the time. The interpreter for that class... well, she was lousy.

I don't like criticising or judging other people's Auslan skills. *My* Auslan isn't that flash, and the skills of my friends ranges from these who know nil to these who are masters of the language. They're all equally my friends, however. I don't want my friends to feel that I put a value on our friendship depending on their language skills, because that's simply not the case at all. So, that's one reason why I don't like to evaluate people's signing skills - and also because, as with all other skills, it's something that depends on a lot of factors. Ahh.

But when you have a qualified interpreter who is getting paid for his/her services and who CAN'T SIGN PROPERLY, that seriously sucks. Argh. It was her first year working as an interpreter, so if she wasn't quite up to the par, that'd be understandable but I've seen first year Auslan students sign more clearly and with more expression than that interpreter. I'm just pissed off that I had to waste that 1.5 hours. The first half hour, I tried to follow her but it took far too much concentration, too far much trying-to-piece-the-bits-together from her sloppy and unprecise signing, and in the next half hour I started to fall behind, started to lose track. The last half hour I didn't bother at all.

I'm also still a bit upset because I found out the other night that one of my favourite interpreters has RSI so severe that apparently she was told that she couldn't do any interpreting for 18 months, and she's now in a position where it'll be a struggle to communicate with her deaf friends - she's very strongly involved in the Deaf community so in some ways the least loss will be her profession. (not that's an easy thing either...)

And, oh yeah, the interpreter was cramming food in her mouth in between snatches of interpreting. What the go?

(cross posted to my journal)
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gah, that sicks Mija. She shouldn't have taken the job if she wasn't up to it. HELLO, THERE IS AN ETHIC CALLED "COMPETENCE"!!!

I know when I start I'll start very slowly, doing one-on-one's, there's no way I'd do lectures in my first year. It's not fair on me or the client.
Mmm. I wish I was better at being nice with these things so I could have (gently) said something to her. To be honest, though, after the one-and-a-half hour, all I wanted to do was get out of the place as fast as I could.
Unfortunately, qualified doesn't necessarily mean competent, the qualification is really only a starting point. I've learnt a great deal about the interpreting process since passing my NAATI level 3, and I still consider myself a beginner. I think one of the most difficult things for any interpreter is to be able to assess their own performance objectively - this is why I value any and all honest feedback that I can get.

It may be that her "sloppy and unprecise" signing is in part symptomatic of a lack of confidence in her own ability to deal with the content or the pace. Also, from the point of view of a working interpreter, it's not good enough for the educational institution to book a single inexperienced interpreter for an hour and a half in an educational setting. She should have had a co-terp, preferably someone more experienced who could help support her - educational interpreting is a demanding area and requires a certain skillset that is specific to the environment.

Do you think it would be worth raising your concerns with whoever it is that books the interpreters?
Your reply came out of the blue, I had completely forgotten about that entry.

I've seen that interpreter use Auslan on a few other occasions, including in non-interpreting contexts. I don't want to be harsh, but she simply doesn't have any aptitude for Auslan. Her signing is sloppy and wooden with almost no facial expressions.

Also, the class that day was a fairly slowly paced prac. I would never expect an interpreter, regardless of their level of experience or skills, to work alone in an environment that was any more quickly paced for that long. (and it would also be against the university policy)

I know it's not easy interpreting in an academic setting, which is one of the reasons why I started using LRC (Live Remote Captioning) as soon as it was available. Hopefully it'll become a win-win situation and free up interpreters for other areas like NAB.